display customs

display customs
   This term has been invented here to define a range of customs which involve children making something, and then displaying their handiwork by standing with it in the street, or visiting friends and neighbours, hoping for a reward of money, sweets, food, or whatever they could get. Many previous writers called them simply 'begging' customs, but this is unjustifiably insulting; there is a strong and long-lasting tradition that this is a legitimate way for children to get pocket money and treats, sanctioned by custom. Included under this heading would be *grottoing, 'penny for the guy' (see under *November the Fifth), and many others, including some where what is displayed is their own fanciful costume, as in * trick or treat. Some former adult customs were also displays, for example the *milk-maids' garland.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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